Vitamin C and Scurvy
Three hundred years ago, a sailor on a long voyage would likely not return home alive - not because he might be slain by pirates or die in a storm, but because he might develop the dreaded disease scurvy. A British doctor found that a daily ration of lime juice would prevent the horrible softening and bleeding of organs, tendons, skin, and gums that led to death for sailors. Sailors got the nickname "limey" from this practice. Today, it is known that the sailors' scurvy was caused by vitamin C deficiency. Because fresh fruits and vegetables could not be stored on board, lime juice provided the vitamin C the sailors needed.
Source: Hamilton E., Sizer F., Whitney E. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies. (New York: West Publishing Company, 1991).
To find out more about vitamin C, read the file "Vitamin C".
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